Your feet are an integral part of your everyday lives, and so they experience a lot of wear and tear. It is even believed that a person walks 75000 miles by the age of 50 years. Read the complete blog and get to know about some of the most common foot disorders with their causes and symptoms.

Bunions

A bunion is a painful bony bump that develops in the joint where the big toe meets your foot – known as the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. Pressure on the joint causes the big toe to head towards the big toe. Over time, it transforms the normal structure of the bone, leading to a bunion bump. This type of deformity progresses gradually and can make it difficult for you to wear your favourite shoes or walk.

Bunions can happen to anyone, but women are more susceptible to get one. This is because most women love to wear tight, narrow shoes that squeeze their toes together – it raises the risk of bunions to develop, degenerate and cause excruciating symptoms. 

What Causes Bunions?

Following factors may cause bunions:

Heredity: Some people can inherit feet that elevate the risk of developing bunions due to their shape and structure. 

Wearing Poorly Fitting Shoes: Shoes with a narrow and pointed toe box compels your toes into an unnatural condition and thus can be a major risk factor for bunions. 

Inflammatory Conditions: Having certain inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or a neuromuscular condition like polio may cause bunions. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Bunions?

  • Soreness, swelling, and redness around the joint of your big toe
  • Consistent pain or pain that comes or goes
  • A corn or callus on the bump
  • Hardened skin on the bottom of the foot
  • Stiffness or limited motion in the big toe

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection which starts between the toes. It generally happens in people whose feet sweat while restrained in tight-fitting shoes. Remember, an athlete’s foot is contagious and can transmit via infected floors, towels, and clothing. 

It is closely associated with many other fungal infections (such as jock itch and ringworm).certain over-the-counter medications can help treat athlete’s feet, but researchers believe that they can occur again in a lifetime. Some prescription medications are also available for the condition which you can consider to take.  

What Causes an Athlete’s Foot?

Most conditions of an athlete’s foot are caused by a wide range of fungi, each belonging to a specific group called dermatophytes, which can also lead to ringworm or jock itch. The fungi thrive in a warm, closed and moist atmosphere and usually feed on keratin – a protein that is found in your nails, hair, and skin. In rare cases, non-dermatophytes such as yeast can also cause athlete’s foot. The risk of developing an athlete’s foot depends on how susceptible you are to the condition. For instance, if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system are at an increased risk of infection if they already have an open cut or sore on their foot. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Athlete’s Foot?

There are several types of athlete’s happen and you can have it in either one or both of the feet. Irrespective of the type of athlete’s foot, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Formation of itchy, scaly, and red rash between your toes
  • Small, red blisters generally on soles and between your toes
  • Sores or ulcers that leak fluid, smell foul and appear red
  • Ongoing scaling and dryness on the soles and sides of your foot

Foot Corns

Foot corns refer to the hardened layers of skin that occurs due to your skin’s response to pressure and friction. If corn is safely treated, it will never occur again. They can develop in many sites on your feet including:

  • Between your toes
  • Below your toenail bed
  • On the bottoms of your feet
  • On the sides of your feet 

What Causes Foot Corns?

You can develop foot corns from wearing shoes that are too tight for your feet. If you stand or walk for quite long, your body weight and constant friction can lead to painful corns in the bottoms of your feet. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Foot Corns?

You may have foot corn if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Skin that is too sensitive to touch
  • Tough, rough and pale patches of lumpy or bumpy skin

Claw Toe

Most people have a misconception that claw toe results from wearing shoes that squeeze your toes, such as shoes that are too tight or have high heels. However, claw toe is generally caused due to nerve damage caused by some conditions such as alcoholism or diabetes. 

What Causes Claw Toe?

The imbalance of foot muscles is one of the prime causes of claw toe. Following reasons can make your foot muscles imbalanced:

  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Alcoholism
  • Osteoarthritis of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Stroke 
  • Polio
  • Spinal cord tumors 
  • Charcot-Marie-tooth disease

What Are The Symptoms Of Claw Toe?

  • Toes are bent upward from the joints at the ball of the foot
  • Toes bent downward at the middle joints toward the sole of your shoe
  • Sometimes, your toes can also bend downward at the top of the joints, swirling under the foot
  • Corns may form over the top of the toe or under the ball of the foot

Diabetic NeuroPathy

What Causes Diabetic Neuropathy?

The exact cause depends on the type of diabetic neuropathy you have. Researchers believe that it happens when the nerves get damaged with high blood sugar level and obstruct with their capability to transmit signals. High blood sugar may also impair the small blood vessels (pr capillaries) that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves.

Combination of the following factors may also cause diabetic neuropathy:

  • Genetic factors
  • Excessive smoking and alcohol abuse
  • Inflammation of the nerves caused by an autoimmune response

What Are The Symptoms Of Neuropathy?

Four main types of diabetic neuropathy exist, and you can have either one or more of the types at once. The symptoms you will experience depends upon the type you have and the nerves that are affected. In most cases, the symptoms advance very slowly. It is quite possible that you won’t experience any specific symptom until considerable damage has occurred. 

Peripheral Neuropathy

  • Numbness or decreased ability to sense pain or temperature changes
  • Burning or tingling sensation
  • Intense pain or cramp
  • Enhanced sensitivity to touch — for some people, even the weight of a bedsheet can be painful
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Loss of reflexes, especially in the ankle
  • Serious foot issues, such as ulcers, infections, and bone and joint pain

Autonomic Neuropathy

  • A lack of awareness that their blood sugar levels are low 
  • Increased or decreased sweating
  • Problems controlling body temperature
  • Constipation, uncontrolled diarrhea or both
  • Decelerated stomach emptying (gastroparesis), leading to nausea, vomiting, bloating and loss of appetite
  • A sharp reduction in blood pressure after sitting or standing that may cause you to faint or feel lightheaded
  • Bladder problems like urinary tract infections or urinary retention or incontinence
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Transformations in the way your eyes adjust from light to dark
  • Accelerated heart rate at rest
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased sexual response

Radiculoplexus Neuropathy

  • Extreme pain in a hip and thigh or buttock that occurs in a day or more
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty rising from a sitting position
  • Eventual weak and shrinking thigh muscles
  • Abdominal swelling, if the abdomen is affected

Also Read: Suffering From Skin Condition? Do Know About Psoriasis

Mononeuropathy

  • Shin or foot
  • Lower back or pelvis
  • Front of thigh
  • Chest or abdomen

You can also experience nerve issues in the eyes and face, causing the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Aching behind one eye
  • Double vision
  • Paralysis on a side of your face (Bell’s palsy)

Heel Spur

Heel spur (called calcaneal spur) is a bony bump that you can sometimes view and feel on the underside of your foot. It comprises calcium deposits and can have a hooked, sharp or shelf-like structure. 

What Causes Heel Spur?

  • Walking gait irregularities, which imposes excessive stress on the heel bones, ligaments, and nerves close to the heel 
  • Excess weight and obesity
  • Running or jogging, especially on hard surfaces
  • Badly worn or poorly fitted shoes, particularly those which lacks a proper arch support

What Are The Symptoms Of Heel Spur?

  • A dull ache in the heel throughout the rest of the day
  • Heat radiating from the affected area
  • Sharp pain like a knife in the heel when standing up in the morning
  • Inflammation and swelling at the front of the heel
  • Point of tenderness at the bottom of the heel that makes it hard to walk barefoot
  • Small, visible bone-like protrusion under the heel

Ingrown Toenail

Ingrown toenails are a prevalent condition in which the corner or side of a toenail develops into soft flesh. The result is swelling, pain, redness and sometimes, an infection. It generally affects your big toe. 

Ingrown nails can recover on its own, and it does not require any treatment. If your pain is severe or it is spreading to other regions of the foot, the doctor can take measures to ease your discomfort and help you eradicate complications of ingrown nails. 

What Causes Ingrown Toenails?

  • irregular, curved toenails
  • cutting toenails inappropriately (Cut straight across, since angling the sides of the nail can encourage the nail to grow into the skin.)
  • footwear that places a lot of pressure on the big toes, such as socks and stockings that are too tight or shoes that are too tight, narrow, or flat for your feet
  • poor posture
  • improper foot hygiene, such as not keeping your feet clean or dry
  • toenail injury, including stubbing your toe, dropping something heavy on your foot, or kicking a ball repeatedly
  • genetic predisposition

Overuse of feet during various athletic activities can make you susceptible to ingrown toenails. Activities in which you repeatedly put pressure on your feet for a prolonged period can lead to toenail damage and raise your ingrown toenail. Such activities include:

  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Ballet
  • kickboxing

What Are The Symptoms Of Ingrown Toenail?

  • Redness around your toenail
  • Pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail
  • Infection of the tissue around your toenail
  • Swelling of your toe around the nail

Blisters

Blisters are the tiny fluid-filled pockets that develop in the top layer of skin in reaction to an infection or an injury. They usually occur over the damaged areas to support them from further harm. 

What Causes Blisters?

  • Having shoes that are too tight or too loose can result in blisters. Just think of how many steps in a day that can result in a lot of friction on one small area of soft skin which can affect the upper layers of skin.
  • The heat from sunburn or a scald
  • Moisture
  • Not wearing socks or the right socks
  • Ill-fitting footwear – you might be wearing one size up or down than the actual size of your feet
  • Consistent friction to the skin
  • Certain medical conditions such as chickenpox and impetigo
  • Exposure to chemicals such as detergent

Stone Bruise

Also called Metatarsalgia, the stone bruise is a condition that specifically affects your forefoot, the area between your toes and where the foot arcs. It causes inflammation on your forefoot or Metatarsalgia, and also between the phalanges.

A stone bruise happens when two phalanges misalign and push against a nerve ending, thus compressing it. It irritates the surrounding nerves leading to inflammation. Your body will form a layer of scar tissue around this region to shield these nerves. 

What Causes Stone Bruise?

  • Athletics may develop Metatarsalgia due to feet overuse or injuries
  • Blunt trauma
  • People suffering from medical conditions like pes cavus are more susceptible to suffer from Metatarsalgia

Following risk factors may also cause stone bruise:

  • Footwear, especially high heels exert immense pressure on your forefoot leading to stone bruise
  • Obesity, causes a considerable strain on your forefoot
  • Diabetes, which makes the fluid accumulate in the foot and may cause nerve irritation
  • Arthritis or gout

What Are The Symptoms Of Stone Bruise? 

  • A feeling of walking on a pebble, even when you are not
  • Pain is a common symptom just like in case of other tissue inflammation
  • You can have a sensation of burning, numbness or tingling on the site of occurrence
  • Your heels can have a deep ache and soreness
  • The reason behind all the pain you are experiencing is because of inflammation, which can be alleviated with the use of anti-inflammatory medications

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It occurs with inflammation of the tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and links the heel bone to your toes.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is generally caused because of a repetitive strain injury to the ligament of the sole in the foot. These kinds of strain injuries can be the result of excessive walking, running, inappropriate footgear, and jumping injury caused due to sudden landing. Certain diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis and reactive arthritis may also be a major reason for your condition of plantar fasciitis. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis?

You may experience some pain and tenderness in the bottom of your foot. The tenderness is generally towards the heel, but the complete sole of the foot can get impacted. A sign of unusual tension or firmness that can result in plantar fasciitis is a bony prominence (or heel spur). It generally develops where the inflamed plantar fascia links to the heel bone. 

Plantar fasciitis can make walking or running really difficult. Your foot will feel particularly stiff in the morning or when rising after sitting for too long or stepping out of a car. You will also be unable to walk barefoot on hard surfaces. It happens sometimes that your feet will become swollen, tender and warm. 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/

https://www.webmd.com/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/

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